Longford childcare workers are among thousands of Early Years educators, providers and parents calling for a ‘new deal’ for childcare at a protest march in Dublin, today (Wednesday, February 5).
The ‘Together for Early Years’ coalition is calling on the next government to increase funding so that it reduces fees for parents, increases pay for educators and supports the sustainability of services.
SIPTU Head of Strategic Organising and Campaigns, Darragh O’Connor, said: “There is a real crisis in childcare. More than 60% educators earn less than the Living Wage of €12.30 per hour and parents are paying some of the highest fees in Europe. The next government has a choice, will it continue with a failing system, or will it invest in a new system that delivers for parents, educators, providers and children.”
Chairperson of the Association of Childhood Professionals, Marian Quinn, said: “‘Together for Early Years’ is a collaborative call from our profession for respect and dignity in our work. We are at breaking point and can't continue subsidising the true cost of early childhood education and care by virtue of our low wages. We have to be able to afford our own lives.”
Federation of Early Childhood Providers Chairperson, Elaine Dunne, said: “We are calling for a fair, equitable and streamlined inspection process for childcare facilities. A graded compliance process is paramount and must be introduced. The massive inconsistencies that currently exist among inspectorates must end.”
Seas Suas Chairperson, Regina Bushell, said: “You cannot improve pay and conditions for staff, provide affordability for parents and achieve sustainability for providers without a massive increase in government funding for Early Years learning and care.”
‘Together for Early Years’ is calling on the next Government to:
1. Double the funding to early childhood education and care (ECEC)services on an incremental basis over the lifetime of the next government to bring Ireland closer to the EU average
2. Provide the necessary funding and mechanism for a Living Wage for Early Years educators in 2020 as a first step towards professional pay and recognition.
3. Introduce a new funding model that supports affordability and accessibility for parents, high quality experiences for children and professional pay and conditions for educators, as committed to in First 5, the Government strategy for babies, young children and their families.
4. Establish a streamlined inspection process with a graded compliance system.
5. Support effective policy development by engagement with the ECEC sector through respectful negotiation and a co-design approach.
The full campaign platform with references is available HERE
Huge crowds at the @BigStartIreland @SIPTU #earlyyearsprotest5th in Dublin today #oneunitedvoice @ShannonsideFM @Longford_Leader @lstwrd @TodayFMNews @TodaySOR @acpire @Independent_ie @RTERadio1 pic.twitter.com/zh4vH3pDgo— Longford Womens Link (@LWLLongford) February 5, 2020
More footage from the @LWLLongford #EarlyYears professionals attending the @BigStartIreland protest today. 1000s protesting re. current crisis in the sector. Investment and recognition essential in next #ProgrammeForGovernment @DCYAPress @shannonsidenews @acpire #oneunitedvoice pic.twitter.com/M9luVHKcHR— Tara Farrell (@TeeFarr) February 5, 2020
I’ve been on a lot of demonstrations in my time, but this one is different.— Cllr. Marie Sherlock (@marie_sherlock) February 5, 2020
The love, dedication & education that these workers give to our kids is incredible.
And the lack of respect for their qualifications and profession can no longer be tolerated. @BigStartIreland pic.twitter.com/uJPoKLqfcG